Congressional candidate Matt Mayberry says veterans ‘need a champion’

Ask Air Force veteran Matt Mayberry why he’s running for Congress and he’ll quickly tell you veterans in New Hampshire “need a champion and I want to be that champion.”

The 55-year-old from Dover – a former city councilor and longtime Republican Party activist who served as vice chair of the New Hampshire GOP – is running for his party’s nomination in the First District, which stretches from Manchester east to the Seacoast and north to the Lakes Region and the White Mountains.

Mayberry – the business office and project manager at Portsmouth-based Carlisle Capital Corporation – takes aim at the Department of Veterans Affairs and at the man he hopes to challenge in November, first-term Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.

“I’m running for Congress because I found four veterans who were going to lose their access to mental health care because the VA didn’t pay their bills. I went out and raised $10,000, got them taken care of, got them the care they needed,” Mayberry said. “Then we found 90 veterans who were going to lose their home health care because the VA didn’t pay that bill. We discovered that the VA owes the medical community in New Hampshire $134 million in unpaid medical bills. That’s wrong.”

In a claim sure to be disputed by Pappas, Mayberry pointed to the incumbent, who’s a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and argued “he has oversight of them. He has done nothing.”

Mayberry said he’d also concentrate on infrastructure if elected. That’s also an issue high on Pappas’ list as the Democrat serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“We have 17,000 miles of roads in New Hampshire. We have 3,800 bridges. They need repair. They need upgrades. We also have wastewater treatment plants that are aging out,” Mayberry said.

He added “with infrastructure comes expanding our fiber optic network.”

Mayberry was interviewed as Congress and the White House were trying to come to agreement on a new coronavirus relief package for individuals and businesses devastated by the pandemic’s flattening of the nation’s economy.

This spring, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion relief and stimulus package. Mayberry said “a narrow scope of that bill is needed. We have businesses, and especially restaurants, that have run out of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) as they try to acclimate to this new economy.”

Negotiations in Washington over the relief bill come as President Trump has urged schools across the country to reopen in the next month or two – with students back in the classrooms.

Asked the federal government’s role, Mayberry emphasized “I’m the only candidate in this race who’s actually served on a local school board.”

He spotlighted his faith in Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and state education commissioner Frank Edelbut.

“I trust Chris Sununu and Frank Edelblut to educate our children, and I think the determination of our schools shouldn’t be made at a federal level but at a very local school board level,” Mayberry said. “Each municipality in the Seacoast has developed a plan. They want to keep their educators and their children safe and they also want to deliver a good quality education. I trust Seacoast school boards long before the federal Department of Education.”

Another top issue for Seacoast residents is clean water with ongoing contamination at Pease International Tradeport and the Coakley landfill in Greenland and North Hampton. Asked what he would do in Congress regarding tougher PFAS standards and expanded monitoring and testing, Mayberry stressed he’d push for “more transparency.”

“It’s moving forward the timetable, it’s working with federal EPA and state environmental services, it’s working with the Department of Defense to find solutions to deliver clean, safe, drinking water immediately,” he said. “It’s working with every member of our delegation, it’s working with town councils and city councils.”

And he argued “we seem to be doing an awful lot of study we’re not doing a whole lot of acting. I want to move this forward. We need to stop thinking about it and talking about it and start doing it.”

Mayberry says he’s a strong supporter of President Donald Trump. Asked where he disagrees with the president, Mayberry quickly answered “his endorsement of Matt Mowers.”

Mowers – a former New Hampshire GOP executive director and state director for then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential campaign who later served in President Trump’s State Department – is also running for the Republican nomination.

Mayberry said he also disagrees with the president about “the tone and tenor of his tweets.”

“Often the tone and tenor and frequency of his tweets can be disconcerting,” he said. “I believe in open and honest transparency in communication but nuance is lost in a tweet. Love the policies, not a big fan of all the tweeting.”

Mayberry emphasized his decades old roots in New Hampshire.

“I’m the one who’s been here for 35 years,” he said. “I’ve sat on the Dover City Council, I’ve sat on the School Board. I delivered food through Meals on Wheels. I found in working with Flag Hill Distillery 200 gallons of hand sanitizer that went all around the state for our first responders and our police departments. I worked with 64 homeless kids in Dover High School.

And he added, “I do this not as a line in my resume but as a calling in my heart.”

The New Hampshire state primary election is Sept. 8

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